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I can't believe our contractor did this... We need help!!!

16 years ago

Problem: The use of a solvent based sealer versus a non-toxic water based sealer.

We have just moved into a new home. Prior to moving in, we asked our contractor to have the basement floor sealed so that we wouldn't get the damp smells and to also help prevent radon. We also wanted to preserve the "fresh poured" basement look.

Well, hour contractor kept putting it off and so came the week before we are to move in. We reminded him again to clean up the now thrashed basement, and have it sealed. Off we go on vacation and returned to move into the house.

The night before the move, we came to our house and were immediately met with a very toxic smell. The basement looked wet and the contractor said that he had it sealed and it was still problem. (At this point, I will add that the floor was not cleaned adequately prior to the sealer, so the sealer just glued all thrash particles to the floor.)

The day of the move, the house still had an odor, but we didn't think much of it as we were busy with the move. Also, doors and windows were open. After the house was shut up and we were ready for bed, we noticed the smell getting worse. My head started hurting and eyes were watering. It tasted like I had kerosene in my mouth. I really thought we would not make it through the night alive.

The next morning, we went down to the basement and saw again what looked like wet floors. Some places wet and others dry. Upon further inspection (very hard to breath when in the basement) we found that the floors were all dry and only looked wet. Along with the toxic odor problem, we now have floors that look wet and make it hard to distinguish if we might have a leak or water problems in the future.

After contacting our contractor, he informed us that a solvent based sealer was applied by rolling and spraying. The company also sprayed the edges of the concrete block and up about a foot in some places. He said for us to open some windows both in the basement and the upper levels of our house, plus put a fan in the basement. We did this and the air seemed to improve. After a week, the air turned cooler, so we closed the windows up last night and went out for dinner. When we returned, the house smelled almost as bad as the first night of occupancy. I couldn't sleep last night from a headache and fear about our toxic house. I also have a sore throat today.

Does anyone have a suggestion of what we can do to get rid of the smell? Can we pant over the sealer so that the floors look dry again? Of course, we would use something non-toxic. Is our problem a health hazard? BTW - We have no children living at home...only our beloved JRT dog.

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